Food - Drink
This Oregon Company Takes A Unique Approach To Distilling Spirits
By MICHELLE WELSCH
Craft-made spirits are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and many distillers now specialize in smaller batches of high-quality liquor. One such enterprise is Thinking Tree Spirits, a women-led distillery in Eugene, Oregon that creates alcohol using extremely unique stills, or environments in which alcohol is heated and collected before it's bottled.
Thinking Tree owners Emily and Bryan Jensen and distiller Kaylon McAlister make their own stills using a repurposed jam and dairy tank with a fully-closed heating and cooling system, which recycles energy throughout the distilling process. Eugene Magazine describes the equipment as a "steampunk mad scientist's laboratory."
Once the staff has their ingredients — 98% of which are sourced within 45 miles of the distillery — the vodka, gin, or other alcohol is distilled using this special setup, and by the time the spirits reach the proofing stage, they have been filtered over 20 times. The alcohol is brought to proof with water from Oregon's McKenzie River.
Beyond using sustainable ingredients, Thinking Tree Spirits collaborates with other local businesses that advocate for sustainability, and the company was named Oregon Gin Distiller of the Year and received a Gold Medal in the New York International Spirits Competition. Their winning gin has a lemongrass palate with notes of cucumber and juniper.